An explanation to the controversial holding hands and extension of arms during the Lord’s Prayer at Mass.


ANSWER: “At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say…” These words are recited by the Priest after singing the Great Amen and elevating the chalice and paten. As soon as he invites the Congregation to sing or recite the prayer that Jesus taught (Cf. Matthew 6:9-13; Cf. Luke 11:2-4), we notice most of the Mass goers raise their hands, which is called Orans posture. Some of them who gather into groups like couples, families, relatives, friends, peers, “magjowa”, etc. would hold hands while singing the Our Father. However we have to keep in mind that the documents of the Church on Liturgy and Sacraments are silent about this. Yet if we read the Order of the Mass in the Roman Missal, there is this rubric that says the Priest extending his hands in singing the Lord’s Prayer. So the Orans posture/holding hands of the lay faithful during the Our Father is being discouraged by the Church because the action of extended hands is reserved only for the Presider, who is called “Alter Christus—the other Christ”. So the people are to be in hands clasped posture, which is prayer position. However it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is being banned universally. It has already been part of the culture especially among us Filipino Catholics, that “nakasanayan na kahit dati pa”. So if the “taas kamay”/“hawak kamay” during the Pater Noster has been part of our culture, then we should not feel ashamed of practicing something that is “nakasanayan”. However as much as possible, these practices should be reserved for the Priest, while we the lay faithful should place our hands clasped in prayer position.

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